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Ghosts of the Past: Atrocity Crimes, Diplomacy, and the International Criminal Court

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During the atrocities that enveloped the Balkans twenty years ago, the United States led in creating a war crimes tribunal to render justice. The Clinton administration asserted its leadership again in building tribunals to investigate atrocity crimes in Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and Cambodia. This international gamble to prosecute genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes culminated in the establishment of the permanent International Criminal Court (ICC). All of these courts continue to adjudicate cases, but the future lies with the ICC as it expands its jurisdiction. Though it played a key role in negotiating the Rome Statute, the ICC’s treaty, the United States has not joined the Court. What challenges confront the ICC as it seeks the participation and cooperation of nation states, especially the United States? Will a powerful international justice system emerge in the years ahead? Listen in as David Scheffer discusses his experiences at the intersection of conflict, domestic politics, and diplomacy, and shares an insider’s perspective on the building of five war crime tribunals and America’s destiny with international justice.

David Scheffer is the Mayer Brown/Robert A. Helman Professor of Law at Northwestern University School of Law and the director of the Center for International Human Rights.

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Recorded Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at The Chicago Club.

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